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Traumhafter Strand in Tulum, Bild: andrmoel / shutterstock

Tulum – Beach Paradise at the Mayan Ruins

On the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan in the state of Quintana Roo lies the small town of Tulum on the Riviera Maya. It is popular all over the world for its enchanting beaches. One of its attractions is the clear sea. Not far away, the jungle awaits tourists, as well as the legacies of ancient, fascinating cultures. Tulum is also known for its magnificent Mayan ruins on the Caribbean Sea.

Getting to Tulum

The journey to Tulum usually takes place by plane in Cancun . The bus then continues via Playa del Carmen to Tulum. The town can also be reached by car from Cancun via MEX 307.

The special features of Tulum

Mayan Ruins Tulum
Mayan ruin in Tulum, Image: DC_Aperture / shutterstock

The greatest features of Tulum are the ancient ruins of the legendary Mayans and the so-called Canabas. In earlier times, these were simple huts directly on the beach, whose hammocks served as sleeping accommodations. In the present, however, there are also luxury huts. They can be found in the coastal area between Tulum and Punta Allen.

The idyllic city is located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. Tulum is located about 130 kilometers south of Cancun. The fascinating Mayan ruins are only 2 kilometres from the town. Until the 90s, the village of Tulum was relatively quiet and tourism was limited to simple huts and a few shops. From Cancun, the visitors usually only went to Tulum for a day trip.

Since 2008, the city of Tulum has been the capital of the 9th municipality in Quintana Roo and the number of inhabitants has increased. The approximately 18,000 inhabitants live mainly from tourism. Hotels, bars and restaurants in the centre of the municipality are among the offers. There are also fitness centres, boutiques, internet cafés and supermarkets. In addition, Tulum offers its guests a relaxing and quiet atmosphere.

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Tulum is composed of its town center, the hotel zone, which is about 5 kilometers from the beach, and the Mayan ruins, which are well worth seeing.

The sights of Tulum

Of course, charming Tulum also has some attractive sights to offer its visitors:

Visit the archaeological site of Tulum

Probably the most important sight in Tulum is the archaeological site with its famous Mayan ruins. The city was founded between about 1200 and 1520, when the great time of the Mayans was gradually coming to an end and began to decay. However, Tulum was able to flourish through trade.

Admission to the ruins is paid, but well worth it. Another attraction is the beautiful beach in the immediate vicinity of the ruins. If you prefer to avoid tourists, you can take a boat tour, which is offered by many Mexicans at a reasonable price. A boat tour is one of the highlights of a vacation in Tulum.

Visit the city walls and other facilities

City Wall Tulum
Image: cocarole / shutterstock

Tulum is surrounded by a defensive wall on three sides. It reaches a height of 5 meters and a width of 6 meters and takes on impressive dimensions.

Also worth a look is the Casa del Noreste temple. On a platform, the remains of the wall and two columns can be viewed. On a cliff at the port of Tulum is the small temple Templo del Dios del Viento. It stands on a round platform, which was considered unusual for the Mayans. From the temple, the visitor has a fantastic view of Tulum, its harbor and the wide ocean.

The Old Port

There is not much left of the former old harbour in the present. However, it has a wonderful sandy beach with a castillo perched on a rock. Sometimes it is also allowed to swim there. Otherwise, the old castle is worth a visit.

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The Templo del Dios Descendente

The Templo del Dios Descendente is the temple of the descending god. It also contains a stucco sculpture of this deity, which was given the name “Ah Mucen Cab” by the Mayans. This meant the god of bees. But the natives also associated it with lightning and rain. The temple was built on an old building.

Other temples to visit in Tulum

One of the temple attractions is the Templo de los Frescos. It is located in the center of the area that has been walled. Several superstructures and changes took place. Inside the temple there are frescoes, some of which have undergone restorations. They represent various gods of the Mayans. For safety reasons, visitors are only allowed to admire them from a distance.

Other interesting temple complexes are the Templo del la Serie Inicial and the Templo del Mar, which is a little off the beaten track.

The Cenotes

There are numerous cenotes around Tulim. They provide immediate access to the cave water systems of Yucatan. Many of them are good for diving, snorkeling or swimming.

Activities around Tulum

Because Tulum has many beautiful beaches, the place is ideal for a beach holiday. Because it is further from the city to the beach, accommodation in the hotel zone is recommended. From there, the beach is just a stone’s throw away.

The shopping of Tulum

If you would like to take home a souvenir of your trip to Mexico, you will find it in Tulum. Between the parking lot and the ruins, there are many souvenir stalls with beautiful souvenirs, most of which have to do with the Mayans.